Kirk Smith: Art to Wear Winner

Art to Wear is a collaborative fashion show between the College of Textiles and the College of Design. I was the winner of the Juror’s Award, and I am also the winner of the People’s Choice Award, which was held by the Raleigh News & Observer.

My name is Kirk Smith. I am a senior in food science here at N.C. State.

The reason I entered is probably different from most people’s original entries into Art to Wear. I know one of the designers previously. She decided that she would bet me that I couldn’t make a dress out of beer cans that could get into Art to Wear. And I decided I was on the line because I’d been bet and second was that this could actually open a lot of doors for me in the industry because it shows that I’m a well-rounded person.

Within Art to Wear, my theme was “College: An introduction to the flavors of education.” And what I wanted to do is I wanted to take local food companies that are often eaten by college students and say something about the stereotypes that I see eating these food products.

And the first piece I made was actually a beer-can dress. It’s almost like a cocktail dress, and it reminds me of a lot of the females that you see at college parties.

My second piece was a Bojangles’ Chippendales-type fraternity life image. And what I was trying to do with that is I was trying to do with that, I was trying to show that a lot of people that I see at Bojangles’ are actually groups of just close-knit friends that often look as though they are from fraternities. I eat there quite a bit as well.

Another idea I was going for is that one major thing that every college student drinks and lives off of is coffee. It’s how we stay up at night to write those papers, to finish those projects. Two a.m. – everybody’s drinking coffee. I wanted to take items from Starbucks and mold it into a piece that made the viewer think about what was going on. My Starbucks piece was probably the piece that won me the Jurors’ Choice Award.

North Carolina State University is known for its engineers, so I had to do something that implied engineering. So I decided to take something very boxy and hopefully turn it into something extraordinarily entertaining, which is why I chose Marco’s pizza boxes.

Another thing that I often see in college is there’s always a senior female that has an engagement ring on. There’s always somebody that is talking about their wedding plans. I used Jimmy John’s wrappers to create a wedding dress that looked pink from far away.

This was probably the most intense project I have taken on during my time at N.C. State. I have broken a mold. I have shown them that I have potential to create something great. I’ve proven that to myself, the College of Textiles and my friends as well.

Next thing on my list is to graduate. After that I plan on getting a master’s in food science. Hopefully, it’s off to the west coast at U.C.-Davis to study beer and brewing sciences.

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